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Human trafficking conference to address integration of law, policy, strategy

March 01, 2011

A lack of awareness, communication and understanding of the multiple levels of law related to human trafficking, the world’s fastest growing criminal industry, have stymied efforts to combat it by law enforcement, the judiciary, policy-makers, academics and social service and community groups.

The need for improved integration of these laws is the focus of a national conference, to be held on March 11, at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. “Combating Human Trafficking: How Coordinating International, Federal and State Law can Prevent and Punish Exploitation While Protecting Victims,” will be from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Great Hall of Armstrong Hall on ASU’s Tempe campus.

For a conference schedule and list of speakers, and to register, visit conferences.asucollegeoflaw/humantrafficking.

The interdisciplinary conference is presented by the College of Law’s Center for Law and Global Affairs and the Diane Halle Center for Family Justice, and by the American Society of International Law. The event is being convened by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (ret.), and Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth V. McGregor (ret.), Distinguished Jurist-in-Residence at the College of Law. It will mark the debut of the College of Law’s Project on Federalism and Separation of Powers in a Global Era.

“It is clear that the same old paradigms won't work to combat the complex, global problem of human trafficking,” said Paul Schiff Berman, Dean of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. “This conference is therefore a pioneering effort that seeks new models for cooperation and coordination among local, national, and international actors."

“Combating Human Trafficking” will bring together scholars and practitioners from around the world to address the need for enhanced coordination of laws in defining the crime of trafficking, prosecuting perpetrators, developing promising interventions and preventing trafficking.

“There’s a lot of interest in this, and we’re trying to coalesce that interest, and focus our efforts and energy so that Arizona becomes a case study for how to properly address human trafficking,” said Daniel Rothenberg, Executive Director of the Center for Law and Global Affairs. “We want to become the national example of how to bring together diverse interests and players, even though not everyone agrees on the elements – the research, law enforcement and the assistance to victims -- of this problem, for a serious, thoughtful discussion,”

Sarah Buel, Faculty Director of the Diane Halle Center for Family Justice, said the issue of human trafficking is especially crucial in Arizona because the state is a hub for trafficking crimes. But the state also is home to concerned faculty, scholars, students and alumni at ASU, community partners, law enforcement and interested parties determined to eradicate trafficking through strategic regional, national and international planning.

“We have tenacious, passionate, multidisciplinary advocates seeking to strengthen, reinvigorate and broaden existing networks,” Buel said. “And we are confident that this conference will dramatically increase victim safety by developing more effective law, policy and practice.

“For the 13-year-old girl now forced into sex trafficking on the streets of Phoenix, this conference can engender new hope.”

In addition to Justices O’Connor and McGregor, the program features an impressive list of participants, anchored by Roxana Bacon, former Chief Counsel of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, delivering the morning keynote, “Why Trafficking Matters,” and Alice Chamberlayne Hill, Senior Counselor to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who will give the afternoon keynote address.

The panels are:
• Overview of Trafficking

• Trafficking Prosecution at Different Levels of Governance and Jurisdiction
• Trafficking Prevention and Protection at Different Levels of Governance and Jurisdiction

• Successful Programs
• What Can be Done to Confront Trafficking in a More Coordinated Fashion?

Rothenberg said the conference is aimed at a broad audience, both individuals who work to prevent human trafficking, punish exploiters and protect victims, and people who are interested in human trafficking as a social issue.

“We hope this conference will help educate people about the fundamental problems of trafficking,” he said, “but also suggest there’s an array of complex, serious programs at multiple levels of jurisdictions, to compare them, and to suggest that one of the ways these programs are likely to be even more successful is through greater integration of these different levels of law.”

To read more about the conference, go to

To register, visit

Janie Magruder,
Office of Communications, College of Law